Several weeks ago while touting Medicare for All, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., compared the single payer healthcare plan to the care we give America’s heroes — by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Given the horror stories coming out of the VA, the freshman congresswoman should have reconsidered — instead, she doubled, and then tripled, down.
At a Queens town hall Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez dismissed the VA horror stories as a fairy tale advanced by conservative news outlets.
"You might have heard Fox News talking about it," Ocasio-Cortez said, "because there is a myth that all VAs everywhere are broken."
She first advanced the notion that a government-run single-payer system could be modeled on the VA while addressing an audience in the Bronx on April 17 — an audience that included nurses and veterans.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” she said of Veterans Affairs.
Any flak she may have received from that remark didn’t deter her from repeating it on Twitter last week, and blaming Republicans for the VA’s bad reputation.
“The GOP participates in a lobbyist-friendly campaign to trash the VA, so we tear it up & shop out vet care to for-profit healthcare corps,” she said. “To reduce VA wait times, we must FUND the VA so they can hire+fill the 48,000 vacancies for healthcare providers for our vets. #ProtectTheVA”
After telling her audience Saturday that VA problems are a right-wing conspiracy, Ocasio-Cortez continued on the theme that the Republican Party was deliberately dismantling the system.
"If we can starve them of budgets and make sure they can't do their job, then we can say the whole system should be thrown away," she said at the Queens town hall. "I'm not going to back down from protecting the VA."
Noah Rothman, associate editor of Commentary, listed a few of the problems that have plagued the VA in recent years.
“Untimely deaths. Unnecessary surgeries. Fly-infested operating rooms. Falsified records. A ‘climate of complacency’ resulting in ‘unnecessary risk’ and a ‘breakdown of core services.’ 3 of last 4 VA secs resigned in disgrace,” he said, concluding, “This is an embarrassment.”
The Washington Post, hardly a conservative news outlet, suggested ways of improving the VA, which included “VA Choice,” giving veterans the option of seeking treatment in the private sector. This dismisses Ocasio-Cortez’s vision of a single-payer system to fulfill all health care needs.
The Post made another recommendation that highlights a major flaw with government-run healthcare: It advised the VA to “make pay competitive with [the] private sector.”
Single-payer systems tend to widen the gap between supply and demand. Demand increases when healthcare is thought of as “free,” and people often seek medical services for minor ailments.
In order to meet the increased demand while remaining on budget, payment to healthcare professionals is reduced. As a result fewer people enter the profession, and many of those already in make career changes.
That’s what leads to rationed healthcare, the end result of every single-payer system, including the VA, as Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., observed.
“Veterans have literally died waiting to get health care treatment from the VA....died!” she said.
Washington Examiner reporter and New York Post columnist Salena Zito added that even when veterans are admitted for treatment, the care they receive may be wholly inadequate.
“Or contracted Legionnaires Disease as they did here in Pittsburgh at the Veterans Affairs hospital (where they by the way failed to warn the other patients they had an outbreak),” she replied to McCain. “Six died.”
Rationed healthcare equates to no healthcare at all.
But that’s seldom a problem for lawmakers. Members of Congress generally never include themselves in whatever scheme they conceive for the people.
As for Ocasio-Cortez, if she wanted a model for her “Medicare for all,” she couldn’t have chosen one worse than the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.
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